Managing Director Mindshop
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How to Build Quality Contact Programs to Convert and Retain Clients

Nov 3rd 2017
Managing Director Mindshop
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On any given day someone will have a problem that you can fix, but may not be in the right frame of mind to engage with you.

When it comes to potential clients, first and foremost, regularly remind them you exist so they think of you when they are ready with a contact program. Regular, relevant communication is key to converting prospects and growing your existing client base.

What do I mean by a contact program? It’s an action plan to move a prospect through the sales cycle or build customer lifetime value - extending tenure or increasing spend. Any number of activities can be classified as a contact – an email, invitation to an event, or just a coffee, if you need inspiration I’ve included some ideas below.

Whatever the method, quality is the key and I’m talking here about quality communications and quality contacts. It’s pointless to have a huge database of contacts either not willing or able to buy from you. Nor is it worthwhile keeping in contact with prospects or clients who are not a good ‘fit’ for your firm.

Here are some tips for building a quality contact program:

  1. Have a clear understanding of your target market and what defines the ‘right’ client for you - essential so you don’t waste time.
  2. Ensure you have a clear set of messages tailored to key segments in your target market (large, medium, small businesses, industry types, owners, however you choose to segment your database.)
  3. The foundations of your marketing strategy need to be in place before you start reaching out, a clear service offering, website, marketing automation or customer relationship management system, backed by a team to support the marketing process. Don’t overengineer it, but ensure that you have the ‘basics’ in place.
  4. Whatever your key message, it should be authentic, memorable and unique, backed with clear evidence of how you are going to make a difference. If you can, make it personal.
  5. Be patient, a quality contact program takes time.
  6. Think about why you are communicating and what you want the prospect or client to do as a result i.e. have a clear call to action.
  7. Measure and adjust your approach based on the results, how many conversions resulted from an activity? Did you move a prospect along the sales cycle? Did you upsell an existing client? Make sure you do more of what works and stop wasting time of what doesn’t.
  8. If you are using a database, it should be accurate, segmented, spam compliant and able to generate reports.

Here are some contact ideas that have worked for us:

  1. Buy a book (that you have read) and write inside the cover and reference a page. The contact will think of you every time they glance at the bookshelf.
  2. Whether social or commercial, sending out invitations, reminders and follow ups to events is great excuse to keep in contact.
  3. Invite contacts to a webinar, if they don’t attend you can still share the content with them later.
  4. Create a short video on a relevant topic.
  5. Email contacts about an opportunity or prospective client for them.
  6. Share an article, blog or information about best practice or client success stories.
  7. Speak at association or industry events.
  8. Ask for a ‘research meeting’ with a leader in a field to discuss trends and issues, even if this doesn’t lead to a direct sale, chances are you’ll get information or even referrals.

Don’t Forget to Convert

When our call to action results in an enquiry, we send a personalized email, tracked by our CRM detailing our service offerings with an offer of a 20-minute discussion about the prospects’ objectives.

After the call, we invite prospects to our training days so they can see us ‘in action’ and provide personal tours of the online system. We may also discuss another clients’ success. At the end of the day, don’t forget to ask for a signature on your contract!

In summary the key tenets of contact program success are:

  1. A great foundation of targeted, authentic messaging.
  2. Marketing basics in place.
  3. Select the right contact methods that work for you.
  4. Measure what works, and what doesn’t.
  5. Follow up, convert and close (or upsell if an existing client).

Good luck!

Replies (4)

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By Michael Abrams
Nov 3rd 2017 17:30

Nice article...

I'll be starting a small, part-time bookkeeping/tax business in the next few months and I was thinking about contact management tools/software.

Can you recommend any that are very cost effective for a part-time, side-job startup?

Thanks (1)
Replying to Michael Abrams:
ingrid edstrom
By Ingrid Edstrom
Nov 6th 2017 22:20

Great question, Michael. In our firm, Polymath LLC, we really like to focus on deeper relationships with fewer clients. As a result, we are able to keep our contact "touch points" with out clients much more frequent and personal.
For our client engagements, we really enjoy using PracticeIgnition. This tool has made it easy to get proposals out to prospective clients and collect payment.
You can also read all about the Polymath client onboarding process on Intuit's Firm of the Future website. We are happy to share our processes to help our colleagues grow!

Thanks (1)
Replying to Michael Abrams:
James Mason
By James Mason
Nov 9th 2017 22:07

Hi Michael, some simple CRM systems are insightly or zoho but you could even start simpler with just an Excel sheet of contacts and steps in a process.

Thanks (0)
Jody Linick
By Jody Linick
Nov 3rd 2017 20:42

Hi Michael, James makes some great points. For myself, I like to use Constant Contact to send a brief monthly e-newsletter to my existing client base. I try to include a link to a good article written by a third party. I figure it might trigger an idea or a thought if my reader has had a recent experience or question on that subject - then they might forward my newsletter to someone with whom they had interaction on that subject. I can also include a link to any articles I have written. I also put a link to anything I have written on LinkedIn, and on other message boards I belong to. Good luck with your new practice!

Thanks (1)